Monday, November 14, 2011
Rumblings: Lucic-Miller fallout, Preds' plans for Suter, Fehr on NBA labor woes
By Pierre LeBrun
TORONTO -- Buffalo Sabres GM Darcy Regier told ESPN.com via text Monday night that he hopes to bring up goaltender protection as a topic for Tuesday's GMs meeting in the wake of losing Ryan Miller to a concussion following a collision with Boston's Milan Lucic this past weekend.
League discipline sheriff Brendan Shanahan didn't mince words Monday night when asked about the Sabres' complaints in the wake of Miller's injury.
"It's completely irresponsible for people in Buffalo and management to suggest that it's open season on goalies," Shanahan told a group of reporters before the Hall of Fame induction. "I can assure and warn that player that it's not. I'll view each and every one of these cases, case-by-case. It's illegal to hit the goalie as the rulebook states. Depending on the intent and depending on the situation, a player runs the risk of getting suspended. For those who want to suggest now it's open season, they're completely wrong."
NHL Players' Association executive Mathieu Schneider said the issue is certainly bubbling after Saturday night's controversy.
"We have to protect the goalies," Schneider told ESPN.com. "It's a unique position. It was a situation that was always self-policed. At the same time, is a goaltender that is that far out fair game? That's the debate. I'm looking forward to hearing what our guys think. We certainly know what Ryan thinks. It'll be interesting. It's going to be a hot topic over the next few months."
Suter and the Predators
Nashville Predators GM David Poile is planning to meet with the agent for defenseman Ryan Suter on Wednesday. He's hoping the momentum created by the signing of star goalie Pekka Rinne will help get a deal done with Suter (set to become an unrestricted free agent after this season) and RFA-to-be Shea Weber.
"[Suter] wants to be in Nashville, so we're hoping to fit everybody in," Poile told ESPN.com before the Hall induction. "Pekka's signing should be meaningful in terms of the commitment by the team and the player and the amount. I think Ryan and Shea can see where we're going."
NHL keeping an eye on NBA lockout
NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr is keeping a close eye on the drama revolving around the NBA's labor situation.
"Obviously, if you don't have an agreement reached that's acceptable to both sides, that's a shame because that's the object, and it's pretty clear that they did not have it," Fehr told ESPN.com. "Looking at it from the outside, I'm not sure how close they ever were. There's no way to tell. When you say things like the season being in jeopardy, you hope that's not the case."
Fehr has nearly completed his NHLPA fall tour, saying he's met with 29 out of 30 dressing rooms. Those meetings with the league's 700-plus players is key in helping Fehr decide which issues he will have the green light to fight the owners on the most.
A year from now, the hope is the NHL isn't sitting in the same spot as the NBA is right now.
"Nobody wants to be in a position where you don't have agreement, that's obviously the first choice," Fehr said.
More on the Tampa trap
Flyers GM Paul Holmgren downplayed all the fuss that was created from last week's trap controversy between his team and Tampa Bay. The NHL has it on the agenda for the GMs meeting Tuesday, but Holmgren didn't think it would be that big a conversation.
"I think it's an isolated incident, but we'll see how it goes tomorrow," Holmgren said after arriving at the Hall. "I really don't expect that much talk about it. There's been enough the last few days."